Family, Kids & Relationships

Small parenting wins worth celebrating

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Parenting is hard, even in the best of times—but with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the tumultuous economy, and the countless other challenges facing today’s parents, it’s feeling like more of a struggle than ever. If it’s starting to feel like moments of joy are few and far between these days, noticing the little wins throughout the day becomes a crucial way to stay positive and connected with your family.

It can be helpful during times of stress to try to stay in the present, and notice what’s going on around you in the current moment. Need help making that a habit? Some sort of daily gratitude practice like a journal or a gratitude jar can be an effective way to prompt you to notice your little wins throughout your day. 

Even the smallest moments are worth celebrating. Making space to acknowledge and honor each of your parenting wins can boost your self-esteem and give you a more positive outlook—which can even rub off on your kids! Here are 12 little parenting wins which might come up throughout the day that are worth celebrating—

  • Getting out of the house—Whether you manage to get out on your own, or the stars align and you get the whole family ready and out the door without a fuss, this is an accomplishment that shouldn’t be overlooked! 
  • An unprompted “please” or “thank you”—It’s little things like this that let you know what you’re teaching them is really sinking in. 
  • When your kid asks to help—This is a way lots of kids show their love, and should be celebrated and positively reinforced! For other ways kids might show their love, learn about love languages for kids. 
  • A moment of silence or solitude—For many parents, peaceful moments are rare. When they happen, really savor them. 
  • When your kid tries something new—Praising your kid for getting out of their comfort zone will encourage them to do it more, which can help them build resilience.
  • Figuring out the child seat/new stroller/new video game system/etc.—Parenting comes with a lot of STUFF. Figuring out how to put that stuff together or fix it yourself is a big win! 
  • A drama-free trip to the store—With all of the distractions, temptations, and obstacles it provides, going to the store as a family can be a major pain. If you get through it without tears or arguments, take a moment to celebrate as a team! 
  • Using the bathroom ALONE—Privacy is often in short supply for parents. If you manage to get in there without a kid on either side of the door bugging you…you’ve earned a little celebration. 
  • When your kid wants to snuggle—Enjoy these little moments whenever you can! Some kids may go through phases of being less affectionate as they get older, so it’s important to be present and appreciate those moments when they happen.
  • Having a snack on hand when they start to get hangry—There’s nothing like swooping in at just the right moment with a snack and averting a meltdown. 
  • When your kid sleeps through the night—Especially for parents of little ones, this can be a rare occurrence. Enjoy the peace and quiet, and catch up on your own sleep or take some time for yourself! 
  • Your child getting dressed in weather-appropriate clothes—No argument about the rain coat? Coming back from a trip to the park with everyone still wearing their hats and gloves? You’ve earned a party! 

Next time you’re dealing with parenting guilt or just have a rough day, take a moment to think back on the small but significant things that went right. It’s an act of self care, and every parent deserves to feel good about the hard work they do.

Mckenna Saady is a staff writer and digital content lead for ParentsTogether. Before working for nonprofits such as the Human Rights Campaign and United Way, Mckenna spent nearly a decade as a child care provider and Pre-K teacher. Originally from Richmond, VA, she now lives in Philadelphia and writes poetry, fiction, and children’s literature in her spare time.